Organic vs. Paid Social Media: 5 of the Biggest Marketing Myths
With more than 2.1 billion users, social media is one of the largest markets the world has ever seen. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small e-commerce business selling handmade fashion accessories, a large corporation operating in multiple locations or a freelancer looking for gigs. Social media offers up plenty of real estate for you to use.
But, here’s the problem: social media moves at lightning speed. Facebook tweaks its algorithm constantly; Twitter updates its character limit; organic reach is shrinking (or is it?); Instagram turns into Snapchat, and the list can go on forever.
With so many changes happening almost overnight, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a lot of businesses have a difficult time understanding how they should use it. Perhaps the most important concept that needs clarification is the balance between organic and paid media.
With that in mind, let’s look at five of the most common myths about organic versus paid social media.
1. Organic Social Media Is More Effective Than Paid Media
We’ve heard a lot of small business owners say: “We will use social media for free exposure.” While that’s technically true, organically growing your social media presence is not as easy as most people would imagine. The fact is, organic reach is declining. If you’ve been managing a Facebook Page for awhile now, you may have noticed that your posts aren’t reaching as many people as before. Because the News Feed is becoming increasingly competitive, Facebook is trying show users the content that is the most relevant to them as opposed to content from pages that post frequently.
Right now, the organic reach for Facebook posts is as low as 2 percent, and the social media giant plans to reduce that percentage even more in the future. That means that for a Page with 100,000 likes, only 2,000 people will see your posts (based on the 2 percent figure.) That’s rough.
Paid media, on the other hand, has proven to be extremely effective for companies that are trying to grow and expand their reach through social media. In fact, about 60 percent of marketers believe paid social is more effective than organic, and 45 percent of them already plan to increase their social media budgets.
We’re not saying that you should ignore organic reach altogether. Instead, you should use a mix of both to maximize your chances. Keep in mind that growing a social media audience takes a lot of time, hard work, and hours of seemingly talking to no one.
2. Companies Use Either Organic or Paid Social Media
Wrong again! Of course, some small businesses or start-ups may not have the budget to afford paid social. Or maybe their data inventory is not big enough for paid campaigns to be successful. Other than that, approximately 86 percent of marketers use both organic and paid tactics as part of their social media marketing strategy. Both options play a major role in ensuring that you will reach the widest audience possible.
Organic social media is vital for building and nurturing relationships with both your current and potential customers. Everything from answering questions to responding to comments can help you build your reputation and establish yourself as a brand that cares about its customer’s needs. Paid social media, on the other hand, is essential for creating brand awareness and getting as many conversions as possible in the shortest amount of time.